Packaging of the eukaryotic genome into higher order chromatin structures is tightly related to gene expression. Pericentromeric heterochromatin is typified by accumulations of heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1), methylation of histone H3 at lysine 9 (MeH3K9) and global histone deacetylation. HP1 interacts with chromatin by binding to MeH3K9 through the chromodomain (CD). HP1 dimerizes with itself and binds a variety of proteins through its chromoshadow domain. We have analyzed at the single cell level whether HP1 lacking its functional CD is able to induce heterochromatinization in vivo. We used a lac-operator array-based system in mammalian cells to target EGFP-lac repressor tagged truncated HP1alpha and HP1beta to a lac operator containing gene-amplified chromosome region in living cells. After targeting truncated HP1alpha or HP1beta we observe enhanced tri-MeH3K9 and recruitment of endogenous HP1alpha and HP1beta to the chromosome region. We show that CD-less HP1alpha can induce chromatin condensation, whereas the effect of truncated HP1beta is less pronounced. Our results demonstrate that after lac repressor-mediated targeting, HP1alpha and HP1beta without a functional CD are able to induce heterochromatinization.